Barack and Michelle Obama go way back with Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda

Jun 13, 2016 at 2:05 a.m. ET
Image: JLN Photography/

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance on the Tony Awards to announce the performance of the cast of Hamilton, and reveal the surprising way they first met creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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"Seven years ago, a young man came to a poetry jam that Michelle and I held at the White House," President Obama revealed.

"He took the mic and said that he was gonna perform a song from something he was working on about the life of somebody who embodies hip-hop, America's first treasury secretary," Michelle Obama added.

More: Seven incredible things Lin-Manuel Miranda accomplished before Hamilton

"I confess, we all laughed, but who's laughing now? Seven years later, Hamilton has become not only a smash hit, but a civics lesson our kids can't get enough of. One with fierce youthful energy. One where rap is the language of revolution, and hip-hop its urgent soundtrack," President Obama said.

"It's a musical about the miracle that is America. A place of citizenship, where we debate ideas with passion and conviction," Michelle Obama shared.

"A place of inclusiveness, where we value our voicetress diversity as a great gift," President Obama said.

"A place of opportunity, where no matter how humble our origins, we can make it if we try," Michelle Obama said.

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"That's the story of America. An experiment that is not yet finished. A project that belongs to all of us," President Obama added.

"America is what we, the people, make of it, as long as we stay just like our country – young, scrappy and hungry," Michelle Obama said, quoting lyrics from the musical.

"That's the story of Hamilton. And you get to see it, coming up," President Obama concluded.

Given this weekend's tragic shooting in Orlando, Florida, the Obamas' pre-recorded message about America being a place where we value inclusiveness and diversity seems to be more relevant than ever.

The cast of Hamilton performed "History Has Its Eyes On You" and "Yorktown" and won 11 Tony Awards this year, including Best Musical. They also closed out the show with a performance of "The Schuyler Sisters".

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

Tony Awards acceptance speeches

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